Wednesday, May 18, 2011

County Council Approves New Trash Hauling Rates

With prices rising on everything from food and gas to utilities and insurance, here’s some good news—if you live in unincorporated St. Louis County, your rates for trash service will be going down but many county residents find that hard to believe these rates will still be good 5 years from now as promised.

The lower rates will impact unincorporated areas of the county, including areas surrounding Eureka, Fenton, Manchester and Town and Country, Affton, Lemay, Mehlville, and Oakville.

The St. Louis County Council accepted bids from IESI and Allied Waste for trash service contracts for the county’s eight trash districts. In March, the council approved extending the length of contracts with its waste haulers from three to five years in hopes of receiving better rates.

In trash districts south of Highway 40, homeowners can expect to save between $30 and $52 a year when the new contracts begin Oct. 3. Additionally, residents will no longer have to pay a monthly rental fee for their recycling carts with the new contracts.

Currently, IESI provides service to Districts 1, 2 and 8 and Allied provides service to Districts 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Under the new contracts, ISEI will provide service to Districts 2 and 4 and Allied will provide services to the remaining districts.

The council voted 5-2 to approve the bids in each of the eight trash districts, stated minutes from the May 10 meeting. Council members Steve Stenger, District 6, and Greg Quinn, District 7, cast the opposing votes in each decision.

Stenger and Quinn also voted against extending the length of the contracts for the county’s haulers. Stenger had said he was concerned that longer contracts would make it more difficult for smaller hauling companies to compete. At least they won't be able to compete for the next 5 years.

In 2008, the county established eight trash districts as part its waste management code. The creation of the districts enabled the county to negotiate contracts with haulers and provided for unified waste collection, recycling and bulky trash pickup services for residents.

Prior to that, residents in unincorporated portions of the county could choose their own haulers, which resulted in several different trash trucks driving through the same neighborhoods at various times.

Controversy followed the change, and sparked several lawsuits from residents who were opposed to the county choosing their hauler. The lawsuits are currently pending in the courts and could throw out the trash program entirely. The regulation passed by the county prohibits all other trash haulers from doing business in St. Louis County which many feel is unconstitutional.

Comments from Readers:

"I find it hard to believe these rates are guaranteed for the coming 5 years. I'll be glad to eat my words 5 years from now if they are the same."

"Can a government agency legally block companies from doing business in the county? Are other trash haulers prohibited from doing business here? That just doesn't sound right."

"This issue has gone up thru the courts and some issues are pending before the Missouri Supreme Court. This whole issue just doesn't smell right."

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